Back in the day when Tommy Beer – of HOOPSWORLD fame – and I covered the New York Knicks, we spent many nights at Madison Square Garden ranting about anything and everything. Now 2,895 miles between Portland and NYC- and courtesy of an afternoon email exchange – the “Rant” continues….
WM: After watching Kobe hyperextend his knee the other night against the Bobcats, I got to thinking: maybe LeBron was right implying he doesn’t need to play in preseason games. You know Deron Williams (it’s Deron!) wants a sip of that Kool-Aid.
TB: Eh, I can’t get too fired-up about it or jump on that bandwagon. Is there a greater chance of LeBron spraining his ankle in preseason game than an intra-squad scrimmage? Some teams/players need to practice more than others. LeBron, as result of the Cavs playoff run and Olympic competition, has played non-stop for what seems like 365 days straight.
WM: So what you’re saying then is cats that played in the Olympics don’t need to play in the preseason? Or just superstars don’t? Aren’t the fans getting shortchanged in both cases?
TB: Everybody needs to be 100% prepared when the ball is tipped on opening night. How they get there is between their coaching staff and themselves. All any professional sports organization owes its fans is to do everything within their power to win a championship. If that means playing LeBron James just 7 minutes in a meaningless preseason game – so be it.
WM: Here’s all I know: the NBA players today couldn’t hack playing 15 preseason games like they did back in the day. Those guys were real men. And another thing- the Sports Illustrated curse lives on . Kobe’s on the cover of the NBA Preview issue and he hyperextends his knee in the preseason thanks to Josh Powell….hmmm – but apparently it’s nothing an icebag can’t fix.
TB: Players today are bigger, stronger, faster, and quicker. That is a fact. And don’t get me started on Kobe. Last summer he is whining and bitching and demanding a trade because Mitch Kupchak can’t surround him with players worthy of his enormous talent. Fast-forward eight months and the Lakers are in the Finals with Pau Gasol starting up front. And now they start this season with Pau and Andrew Bynum down low. Hey Kobe, you still want to trade Bynum for Jason Kidd?!??! Does it bother anyone else that he never apologized (at least publicly) to Kupchak, the Lakers, and his teammates.
“I don’t believe in curses. Wake up the Bambino and I’ll face him. Maybe I’ll drill him in the ass.”
WM: Good one…..but why would Kobe recant anything? That’s not his style. You have to believe in his mind he did nothing wrong. Back in the day Shaq was the problem, then Phil. Then it was Bynum and his youth or the lack of having a player of Kobe’s choosing. But once the Lakers returned to the Finals and Kobe can’t get it done by himself, I’m guessing he’s really buying into the team concept now. He’s better off staying hush. Here you thought this rant was about LeBron and it becomes all about Kobe. It’s always about Kobe.
pic via: zimbio